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How do you propagate a ZZ plant?

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Quick Answer

Propagate ZZ plants either by rooting leaflet cuttings or by separating and repotting the rhizomes from an established plant. ZZ plants that have been propagated by cutting may take up to one year to begin growing a rhizome below the soil line. Plants propagated by rhizome establish themselves more quickly.

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Full Answer

The ZZ plant, also known by the scientific name Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is native to eastern Africa. The plant consists of a rhizome that sprouts long leaves covered in oblong, dark-green leaflets. Because the ZZ plant is adapted to prolonged rainy and dry seasons in its native habitat, the species is tolerant to drought and makes an ideal houseplant.

If a large, well-established ZZ plant is available, propagation can be easily achieved by unearthing the rhizomes of the existing plant, separating these rhizomes and the associated leaves, and repotting the rhizomes and attached leaves. Care should be taken to bury the rhizome and leaf deeper than the original soil line. To propagate by leaf cutting, use a sharp, clean blade to cut a leaflet or a leaf with several attached leaflets. Place the leaf or leaflet cutting-side down in a pot of moist but well-drained potting mix. Keep the potting mix moist but not flooded for up to one year, at which point the leaflet can be dug up and checked for rhizome development. At this point, if a rhizome has formed, replant the rhizome and leaf in all-purpose potting soil.

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